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The Batman Hit With COVID-Related Setback

We now know what it takes to slow down The Batman: COVID-19.

Shooting on the upcoming movie, which will star Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader, has been shut down once again after an unidentified crew member tested positive for the novel coronavirus that has been ravaging the globe since early this year. Production on The Batman had just recently ramped up again at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden in the United Kingdom after first being shut down in March 2020 as the pandemic began to take hold. 

Vanity Fair is claiming that the sick individual is Pattinson himself, although this hasn't been confirmed. Warner Bros. hasn't commented on who specifically has tested positive for the virus. In a statement, the studio announced only that a "member of The Batman production has tested positive for COVID-19, and is isolating in accordance with established protocols." As a result, filming has been "temporarily paused."

The news has also likely sent a shudder through a neighboring production: Fantastic Beasts 3, which is preparing to begin shooting again at Leavesden in October (via Variety). Hopefully, The Batman's COVID-19 incursion will prove to be an isolated case, and both productions will be able to get back on track sooner rather than later. 

How this might affect The Batman

Back in April, Warner Bros. kicked The Batman out of its previously scheduled June 25, 2021 release window and pushed it to October 1 of that year. Director Matt Reeves and his crew might be able to keep The Batman from flapping off to 2022 if quarantine protocols are strictly adhered to. At this point, the entire cast and crew will likely have to isolate themselves for at least two weeks (including Pattinson, who was already going a bit batty while holed up alone in a London hotel back in May, as famously chronicled by GQ). Assuming that everyone involved with The Batman dutifully locks themselves down for at least that long, anyone who may have been infected by the sick individual won't get the chance to pass the virus around any further.

However, it can be difficult to get some individuals to self-quarantine, wear face masks, or take other precautions that could help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Even one or two cast or crew members breaking protocol could have a disastrous effect on the entire production — to say nothing of the potential for far more serious consequences.

The good news is that Reeves runs a pretty tight ship, having been able to get roughly 25 percent of the film in the can before the pandemic hit, as he relayed to Deadline in April. Footage from that initial round of shooting made up the absolutely killer trailer for The Batman, which premiered at the DC FanDome virtual event in late August.

This is, obviously, a major bummer for everyone involved, but hopefully it won't be a production-derailing snafu or anything worse. Our thoughts are with the individual who came back with the positive test, and we wish them a speedy recovery.